ABEOKUTA – Engineer Ishaku Tikon, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), on Thursday in Abeokuta has promised that the ongoing Anthonia Akiode South-West Cadet and Junior championships in Ogun State would be used as national ranking for table tennis players in the country.
Engr. Tikon told NEWSFLAGSHIP in Abeokuta while declaring open the two-day South-West event championships that, this was imperative to motivate all participating players in the competition.
The NTTF President who was represented by Mr. John Peters said the championships would be used to establish a data bank for national ranking and a pool to identify players who distinguished themselves during the competition for international junior championships.
Tikon who said the federation was prepared to produce high level players for the national team, said they were planning to establish a national team camp in no distant future.
He stated that, over 130 players from the six South-West states are participating in the two days event put together by a Germany based organization, Hoffnug Sports Foundation.
“This an opportunity to appreciate what Hoffnug is doing in the last couple of years, that is why we are extending to other states in Nigeria. Particularly at this time we are looking for a group of players to take over from Aruna Quadri who is ranked number 18th in the world and Oshonaike and therefore, there must be a system by which such players are groomed together for for international competitions and this tournament is one of such.
“That is why we regard this championships as a siamese national tournament in the sense that it covers the whole region in Nigeria.
“Therefore, we have made available for the sponsor the umpire from the Nigerian Table Tennis Federation, and what that means is that, the result of this tournament can be use for national ranking point for the players. Also other equipments that are used for international tournaments are used for this tournament and they are all ITTF approved”.
While speaking, the Founder of Hoffnug Sports Foundation and a German-based tennis player, Dapo Akiode announced that, the sum of N150, 000 has been set aside as cash prize for winners along with medals, and table equipments.
Dapo Akiode vowed that, the best player from the tournament would be given a sponsorship deal to nurture such talent as done for the national Badminton player in Algiers, Tunde Bankole.
He therefore commended Ogun state government for providing an international standard table tennis facilities at the Alake Sports Centre, venue of the Anthonia Akiode South West championships.